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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Understanding and Strengthening Health Systems by Johns Hopkins University

322 ratings

About the Course

Welcome to our course on Understanding and Strengthening Health Systems for Global Health. During the course we will provide you with an overview of the main elements or building blocks of a health system based on the World Health Organization’s guidance. You will have the opportunity to explore four main areas of health systems in global health with particular reference to low and middle income countries. The first area focuses on understanding health service organizations, the challenges. Our second module looks at WHO’s six major building blocks or health systems components with particular reference to primary health care and the need for community participation in planning, delivery and assessment of these systems components. in our third module we examine the specific systems component of human resource development and capacity building. The fourth area consists of health policy making and advocacy with stakeholders. This course is geared toward learners who are already involved in managing health and development programs on the ground in low and middle income countries or who are preparing for such a management role. The main lectures will span a four-week period with approximately 2-4 hours of viewing learning materials per week. We have one peer graded essay wherein you will use skills in ‘organizational’ diagnosis to better understand a challenge in an organization where you are or have worked. There are also quizzes. We hope you will engage with your fellow learners in discussion forums to learn from each other....

Top reviews


May 22, 2022

Awesome course. My origin is finance but this course took me behind the scenes of the health care system for populatiins just as I wanted. Much appreciated.butinanceE


Sep 2, 2018

This a very interesting course highlighting key components in order effectively organize to tackle issues facing health systems at large . I highly recommend it

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1 - 25 of 89 Reviews for Understanding and Strengthening Health Systems

By Lily Z Z

Jul 21, 2018

The overall course design is perfect, with clear purpose in each module and informative lecturing. There could be more forms of learning and teaching instead of simply lecturing and quizzes. It is a course that gave me an overall view of public health issues and has raised my interest in this field of study. Also hope that some minor mistakes, including duplicated lectures, mismatched subtitles, and slides in wrong order, can be fixed ASAP, since some of the issues have been posted on the discussion forum for a long time but have not received any response yet.

By May D

Jan 20, 2019

I learned a lot about how to analyze where an organization is struggling in order to create needed changes. Thanks to the instructors!

By Dorota S

May 8, 2020

The course format is not particularly student friendly. Relying solely on videos in which the lecturer presents field experience over a slide deck that is not always synced with what they are saying is not exactly the peak online learning methodology.

Adding some readings, linking additional resources that the students could explore (the JHU website has multiple amazing online tools), breaking the very lengthy course videos into smaller pieces would make for a more impactful educational experience.

On top of that, the peer review system is not exactly fool proof, and even after you have successfully submitted your assignment, one can wait for multiple weeks before obtaining the certificate, as there is apparently not enough peers to review the submissions. The discussion forum for the course is filled with people asking for reviews.

That being said, the course content is interesting and I believe that the whole Foundations of Global Health is potentially quite useful for people looking to cement their GH experience and knowledge.

For people who are only getting started in the Public and Global Health, I'd suggest taking the course "Essentials of Global Health" from Yale University which is for free, a lot more interactive & student-friendly and introduces students to multiple online tools that are useful for further research and better understanding.


Sep 3, 2018

This a very interesting course highlighting key components in order effectively organize to tackle issues facing health systems at large . I highly recommend it

By Tia K

Aug 13, 2020

I really enjoyed the professor and this class. This class was very informative regarding how health systems work and the in and outs.

By Sandra H R

Aug 19, 2019

I could meet the first step to understand the health system: processes, actors, policy makers. This is so important to realize how many things we need to consider in global health

By Stephanie L

Jan 25, 2019

Content was very interesting, a lot of repetition of material helped to get a good understanding of Health Systems. Organizational Diagnosis was very useful.

By Andrew K

Sep 8, 2018

Informative and challenging to re-think current approaches to public health systems strengthening

By Imran H

Sep 22, 2018

Good course for understanding health systems

By Christina S

Jul 22, 2018

It was a good introductory to health systems and lectures were well organised.

By Guenivere M

Mar 7, 2020

The instructor was very dry and the information was presented in such huge chunks, it was difficult to digest

By Ololade O

Mar 2, 2021

I found this course refreshing as a medical Doctor trained in the tropics. That almost 100% of the content was culled from my country, Nigeria and in particular, my alma mater, The University of Ibadan was a testament to the kind of solid background I have as a Doctor from the University College Ibadan and from my teachers and Professors who work tirelessly under a system that continually works to undermine such a good school. It is always nice to learn Tropical Medicine/Public Health from the Western point of view. I did Tropical Medicine at the LSHTM, UK and it was educative and mostly hilarious how they saw health from Africa. I like the mix of Health Systems in the Tropics and in the "Developed Countries" and a chance to always go back and use this knowledge in the Tropics where it is needed.

By Olal E

Jul 28, 2019

This is the first course I am taking online. I never knew that Coursera had courses with such a great content. I have been able to learn so much from this course, for example steps in organisational diagnosis, how to improve and maintain quality of drugs sold by vendors, community systems strengthening model and how to use the health systems block to develop a program strengthening activity.


Nov 17, 2018

This is my 1st class with Coursera and my language is not good enough as an Asian who study English as a foreign language. But I'll try more and more.Hope my studying will be better.I was retired from my teaching 8 years ago and I took a course as my hobby,hope I can do a volunteer work at some nursing home.

By Omotayo J (

Jul 9, 2023

This is a course I really enjoyed. I love the Nigerian music used in some parts of the introduction, and the course contains some very significant details that are very insightful and helpful. Although it could be a bit overwhelming with the provided case study, it is definitely worth it.

By Claudia C C

Oct 20, 2019

The Course uses Case Studies to help analyze the use of knowledge in real situations. Professor very much qualified through academic studies, but most importantly, through deep experience in the field. It will add insights in the development of social impact project i am involved with.

By Stanley S

Apr 27, 2020

I love it as the title of the course "Foundation", I feel that I learn all everything from what is organisation, framework, health system, etc at the core of it! I recommend this for all health workers who want to learn about public health and health management

By Malek G

Jan 11, 2020

A very interesting course! It allowed me to gain skills I always needed to be more effective in my approach of healthcare policies in my country especially related to organization diagnosis and policymaking. I recommend it to everyone!

By Dr A K M

Jan 29, 2020

I was a very well delivered course, I loved the peer graded assignment (the prompts and the rubric) they really helped me understand things better. I am going to continue with the other courses in this specialisation.

By Dr. M H A

Jun 7, 2020


By Okafor U A

May 23, 2022

Awesome course. My origin is finance but this course took me behind the scenes of the health care system for populatiins just as I wanted. Much appreciated.butinanceE

By Celestine M

Jan 24, 2021

It was quite enlightening and very understanding as l study the rudimentary principles of achieving success and switching on to a new career in Public Health.

By Sarah T

Nov 14, 2019

It is a really complete curse where you will learn and practice everything that's taught during the course. very complete and interesting!

By Deleted A

Sep 6, 2021

This course is a comprehensive introduction to understanding health systems and the factors that impact them. I highly recommend it.

By Moses E

Apr 21, 2020

The training was relevant and practical and now more well equipped with issues of humanitarian crisis. looking forward to crisis two